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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 90  July 11, 2014

Quote of the day:
"There are probably a lot, if there is one. They do sting." - Cathy Drew, founder and executive director of The River Project, commenting on the lion's mane jellyfish that was sighted in the Hudson River at Battery Park City.  

* World's largest-known jellyfish species lives in Hudson River
* Rubik's Cube anniversary float-by curtailed by strong winds
* Bits & Bytes: Flood protection plans; More pricey Tribeca penthouses
* This weekend in the South Street Seaport
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Christian Scott and his band playing at the opening of this year's Rhythm & Blues concert series in
Battery Park City. July 10, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Downtown wildlife
 Lion's Mane jellyfish in the Hudson River near the Battery Park City esplanade.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The jellyfish making its way down the Hudson River near the Battery Park City seawall on Friday morning was small for its species. It was only about two feet across with a set of tentacles streaming another three feet or so behind it.

Lion's mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) are the largest known species of jellyfish in the world. In 1870, one washed up on a Massachusetts beach with a body that was seven and a half feet wide and tentacles that were 120 feet long.

These creatures generally live in cold water. The Hudson River "is close to the southern range limit for them," said Chris Anderson, education director of The River Project, a marine science field station founded in 1986 at Pier 26 in Tribeca and currently domiciled at Pier 40.
Lion's mane specimens tend to be larger in colder, more northern waters.

Anderson said that he, too, had seen these jellyfish in the Hudson River recently. "They could either be following cold water currents into the Hudson, or just staying with the saltwater that can move much farther upriver in drought conditions," he said. "People have seen them much farther upriver in the past. We see them every summer."

"There are probably a lot if there is one," said Cathy Drew, the founder and executive director of The River Project. "They do sting."

In July 2008, they were present in the Hudson River when around 3,000 swimmers jumped into the water for a leg of the New York City Triathalon. A number of the swimmers were stung. One man died, possibly of a heart attack precipitated by a jellyfish sting.

A lion's mane's tentacles can continue to sting even after the jellyfish is dead.

Anderson said that the lion's mane jellyfish eats zooplankton - animals that are either very small, or large and soft-bodied. Either way, they drift with water currents. These, in turn feed off of phytoplankton - microscopic organisms that use sunlight to create energy usable by other plants and animals as food in a process called "photosynthesis."

"I believe the lion's mane jellyfish are attracted to zooplankton blooms (for food), which occur during phytoplankton blooms in the Hudson," Anderson said. "Phytoplankton blooms are caused by excess nutrient loads to the river - usually phosphorous and nitrogen. This can come from combined sewer overflow episodes during heavy rains, or upstate from fertilizer runoff."

The New York Times wrote about lion's mane jellyfish in an article that was published on July 22, 2008 ("A Painfully Early Arrival for a Summer Nuisance." ) That article noted that the jellyfish had appeared in the Hudson River about a month earlier than usual.

This year's sightings push back that date by at least another two weeks.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 



The 40th anniversary of the invention of the Rubik's Cube was celebrated with a giant Rubik's Cube floating on the Hudson River. (Photo: Jay Fine)

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the invention of the world's best-selling puzzle game, on July 11, a huge, inflatable version of the Rubik's Cube was mounted on a barge. It was supposed to be towed from Staten Island to the Statue of Liberty and then up the Hudson River to West 34th Street, with a return trip scheduled for between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

It isn't clear how far the cube got in its planned journey. It did make it to the Statue of Liberty, but high winds seem to have forced a premature retreat. At any rate, it was not on the river between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

A photo-op at the Statue of Liberty was good enough.

On Sunday, the cube's inventor, Hungarian architecture professor Erno Rubik, will turn 70, another cause for celebration.

Rubik's infernal, little invention has sold 350 million copies so far. It is a multicolored cube made of 26 little cubes, with a single solid color on each of its six sides. Disrupt that pattern by twisting the layers and it could take months to get the thing back together again in its original configuration.

It took Rubik a month to figure out the solution the first time he tried to solve the puzzle.

Now there are "speedcubing" competitions. The first world championship took place in Munich on March 13, 1981. The winner solved the puzzle in 38 seconds.

That record has been bested on many occasions, most recently in March 2013, when Mats Valk of the Netherlands won with a time of 5.55 seconds.

Rubik has said that he wasn't so much interested in creating a puzzle as he was in solving the  problem of how to create an object whose parts could move independently without having the structure fall apart.

Rubik has not been idle in the last few decades. He invented other puzzles and became editor of a game and puzzle journal. He also opened a studio where he has been designing furniture and games. In addition, he continued his college-level teaching.

Rubik masterminded an exhibition entitled "Beyond Rubik's Cube" that debuted at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. on April 26, 2014. It will be there through November.

On this birthday/anniversary weekend, the Center is offering games, engineering challenges, a cake contest, special appearances by speed cubers, and a birthday singalong.

For more information about "Beyond Rubik's Cube" at the Liberty Science Center, click here.

 - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Bits & Bytes
P.J. Clarke's says that Brookfield, its landlord, is trying to push it out.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"City aims to legalize flood protection on streets," Crain's New York Business, 7/8/14. "The city Department of Transportation is hoping to create a new set of permits that would allow landlords to install flood barrier systems on public streets and sidewalks outside their buildings," says Crain's. "The changes come as the result of flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Many structures, especially in lower Manhattan, were built all the way to the property line, meaning temporary flood walls, for example, would need to be erected on public streets or sidewalks-requiring a green light from the city." Crain's says that the DOT will have a public hearing on the proposed change next month. For the complete article, click here.

"Peek at the Pricey Penthouses in Tribeca's Newest Conversion,", 7/10/14. "The prolonged condo conversion of Tribeca's former book bindery at 443 Greenwich Street has been the victim of much conjecture and speculation, which all started to be laid to rest with the release of the building's first interior renderings," says "However, they gave but scant views of the property's 45 lofts and eight penthouses. A tipster unloaded new renderings that provide first glimpses inside some of the building's eight, rather muted penthouses." For the complete article, with photos, click here.

"P.J. Clarke's Has Launched a Petition Against Brookfield,", 7/11/14. "On top of the $40 million lawsuit it filed against Brookfield last month, the Battery Park City P.J. Clarke's is now taking to the streets - or at least the Internet - to rally neighbors against its landlord Brookfield Properties," says Eater. com. "The restaurant claims Brookfield has led a 'coordinated effort' to force it out of its location, so it can fill the space with a 'higher-end tenant at higher rental rates' (which some say might be Keith McNally's Pastis). For the complete article, click here.

Grateful Gateway Plaza tenant: Glenn Plaskin, newly re-elected as the president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association, was happy to receive an email with the subject line, "Thank you for your hard work."

Air conditioner delivery.
"As I sit in this cool apartment, with a barely audible air conditioner, I realized I should probably drop you people a thank you note!" Jonathan Mcdermott wrote. "Thanks for taking the fight to fix those windows all the way through and I'm sure we'll thank you more come winter!"

As Mcdermott noted, the windows at Gateway Plaza, the largest residential complex in Battery Park City, with 1,700 apartments, are not yet fixed. That's a continuing battle with Marina Towers Associate, Gateway's management, and with the LeFrak Organization, the developer of the project and the principal owner. But what has happened is that the air conditioning and heating units have been replaced, and new electric meters have been installed.

Whether these improvements will lower electric bills remains to be seen, but at least they have brought more comfort.  

Gateway Plaza was built in the early 1980s and was poorly insulated. It opened in 1982. For years, tenants have been complaining about ice and snow inside their apartments and about electric bills in many hundreds of dollars because of leaky windows, faulty electric meters and antiquated equipment.

 The Paris Cafe | 119 South Street | 212.240.9797 | | @theparisnyc


South Street Seaport
Bean bag chairs on Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Saturday, July 12:
Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport has now been equipped with bean bag chairs as well as with lawn chairs and picnic tables. It also has a sound stage at Fulton and Front Streets, which will be used on July 12 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the Village Voice's 4th Annual 4Knots Music Festival. In addition, the festival's 10 bands will play on a stage on Pier 16. For more information, click here.

At 8 p.m., The Howard Hughes Corporation will show a free film, "I am Legend," on the stage at Fulton and Front Street. It's a science fiction horror film released in 2007 about the sole survivor of a plague that has killed most of humanity and turned the rest into monsters. It was directed by Francis Lawrence and stars Will Smith.

Elsewhere in the Seaport, on Saturday night from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Dandy Wellington will bring his Jazz Age music and dance to The Paris Cafe, 119 South St. The Paris was around and serving food and drink during the time that Wellington re-creates with his performances. His wardrobe from hat to toe could have come straight out of an old photograph of the twenties. CBS News called him "an exquisite gentleman."

Sunday, July 13:
On July 13, KidAround! will bring live music and "story-time with your favorite characters" to the Seaport from 1 p.m to 3 p.m.
Ali Osborn of Bowne Printers. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, printer Ali Osborn will teach a workshop in linoleum block printing at Bowne Printers, 211 Water St. Bowne is part of the South Street Seaport Museum.  Osborn will show how to carve designs on linoleum blocks, and how to ink them and print them. At the end of the workshop, the blocks will be locked up on Bowne Printers' vintage Vandercook press and Osborn will pull a composite print. Each student will go home with their block, individual prints, and one limited edition poster of everyone's prints together. All materials are supplied. Registration is required. Suitable for apprentices 12 & up.  Fee: $50;  $45 (South Street Seaport Museum members). There is a $15, non-refundable materials fee. E-mail or call (646)-628-2707 to reserve your spot. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the South Street Seaport Museum's historic ships, Ambrose and Peking, are open for tours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Pier 16. Cost: $12 (adults); $8 (students, 12-24 and seniors); $5 (children 2-11); under 2, free. To buy tickets, click here.


CALENDAR: Week of July 7
West African Family Dance. (Photo: Battery Park City Parks Conservancy)
July 12: City of Water Day, sponsored by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Governors Island, in Hoboken's Maxwell Place Park and in neighborhoods throughout New York City, Yonkers and New Jersey. For more information on City of Water Day, click here. On Pier 25 at North Moore Street in Tribeca, the lighthouse tender, Lilac, which is moored there and open for tours through mid-October, will be joined by the schooner A. J. Meerwald, the tug Pegasus and the fireboat John J. Harvey, which will offer free boat rides. In addition, the FDNY fireboat Three Forty Three and the schooner Sherman Zwicker will be open for tours. The LILAC will offer marine knot-tying demonstrations. Hudson River Park educators will give fishing lessons on the pier.
July 12: The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy presents a West Indian Family Dance. Mane Kadang performs music from Senegal, Guinea and the Ivory Coast with dances led by the Kotchegna Dance Company. Dance or just listen! For all ages. No partners or experience necessary. Place: Esplanade Plaze (on the Hudson River at Liberty Street). Time: 6:30 pm. to 8 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

July 13: Create a linoleum block print at Bowne Printers' "Block Party." In this three-hour workshop, printer Ali Osborn teaches the basics of carving and printing linoleum blocks. Arrive with a couple of ideas for images and learn how to transfer them to linoleum and carve a design.  After inking and printing each design by hand, all of the blocks will be locked up on Bowne Printers' vintage Vandercook press and Osborn will pull a composite print. Each student will go home with their block, individual prints, and one limited edition poster of everyone's prints together. All materials are supplied. Registration is required. Suitable for apprentices 12 & up. Place: 211 Water St. Time: 2 p.m to 5 p.m. Fee: $50;  $45 (South Street Seaport Museum members). There is a $15, non-refundable materials fee. E-mail or call (646)-628-2707 to reserve your spot. 

Ongoing: Every Friday through Aug. 22, join a master drummer in Battery Park City's Wagner Park for Sunset Jams on the Hudson. Improvise on African, Caribbean and Latin rhythms. Drums provided, or bring your own. Place: Wagner Park. Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Ongoing: "Tugboats: Workhorses of New York Harbor," photographs by John Skelson, are on exhibit aboard the Lilac, a historic lighthouse tender docked at Pier 25, through July 31. Skelson's photographs document the powerful and colorful array of tugs that keep our harbor working. The Lilac is open 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information about the Lilac, click here.

Ongoing: An exhibit in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's arts center on Governors Island examines a pivotal time in Trisha Brown's early career as an artist and choreographer, as well as a particularly fertile moment for artistic production in New York City. With videos, photographs and installations, "Trisha Brown: Embodied Practice and Site-Specificity" highlights Brown's community of performers and artists, and the Lower Manhattan in which they lived and created. The exhibit shows Brown's investigation of simple movements such as walking or dressing, and the built environment, specifically through performances that took place on buildings inside and out, museum walls, parks, cobblestone streets, and other non-traditional performance spaces. 
The exhibition also bridges the transition in Brown's practice from site- and gallery-based work to proscenium stage work, for which she became well-known throughout the 1980s and beyond. Through Sept. 28. Times: Fridays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Ongoing: Poets House presents its 22nd annual showcase, a free exhibit featuring all of the new poetry books and poetry-related texts published in the United States in a single year from over 650 commercial, university, and independent presses. Through Aug. 16. Place: 10 River Terrace. Free. For more information, click here.

Ongoing: "From Drills to Drums: Civil War Life on Governors Island." A program for kids, who will see first hand the lives of soldiers, civilians and prisoners on the island in the 19th century. No tickets or reservations required, but large school or day camp groups should call (212) 825-3045. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Place: Governors Island. Time: 10:20 a.m. Also at 11:20 a.m. Free.

Ongoing: Hike Through History. The most comprehensive tour of Governors Island National Monument takes in nearly every highlight in the historic district. No tickets or reservations required. Visitors should be prepared to stand for a full 90 minutes and walk a distance of about 1.5 miles. Wednesdays to Sundays. Place: Governors Island. Meet at Soissons Dock. Time: 2 p.m. For more information, click here.
Ongoing: "A Town Known as Auschwitz" is an exhibit of photographs at the Museum of Jewish Heritage tracing the history of a town called "Oswiecim" in what is now Poland, where Jews and non-Jews lived side by side for centuries. When German forces occupied the town in September 1939, they renamed it "Auschwitz" and established a concentration and death camp there. More than 1 million people died at Auschwitz, including 90 percent of the town's Jews. The museum is at 36 Battery Place. For information the exhibit, click here. For information on the museum's hours and admission fees, click here.
Ongoing: Poets House in Battery Park City presents "A Painter and His Poets," the first major retrospective show of George Schneeman's collaborative paintings, collages, prints, and books, with portraits of his poet friends, spanning 40 years. "A sort of utopia in the visual field filled with pleasure, quickness and wit" is how Schneeman himself described his collaborative work with poets. Exhibition on view through Saturday, Sept. 20, during regular Poets House hours. Place: 10 River Terrace. Free. For information about Poets House, click here.

Ongoing: The South Street Seaport Museum's lightship Ambrose and its barque Peking welcome visitors Wednesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Pier 16 (on the East River at Fulton Street). The Ambrose, launched in 1908,  once guided large ships through the Ambrose Channel into New York harbor. Peking was launched in Hamburg, Germany in 1911, one of the last commercial sailing ships ever built. She was used to carry goods from Europe to South America and to return to Europe with nitrate. The museum's Visitors Services associates explain all of the fascinating details of the ships and their relevance to the history of New York as a port city. Cost: $12 (adults); $8 (students, 12-24 and seniors); $5 (children 2-11); under 2, free. To buy tickets, click here.

Ongoing: "Defining Lines: Maps from the 1700s and early 1800s" at the Fraunces Tavern
Museum. Twenty-seven maps provide a perspective on the evolving nation's place in history. A map from 1804, never before exhibited, shows the U.S. postal routes. Place: 54 Pearl St. Time: Noon to 5 p.m., daily. Admission fees: $7; $4 (seniors, students with ID, children, 6 to 8 years old. Children, 5 and under, free. Active military with ID, free. For more information, click here.
Ongoing: The National Museum of the American Indian is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free admission. It offers free films, docent-led tours of its exhibitions and tours of its premises, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, designed by Cass Gilbert. The building, which was completed in 1907, is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One Bowling Green. Phone: (212) 514-3700. For the museum's calendar, click here.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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